In a setback to national-level chess player Chetna Karnani, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said it could not direct the Delhi University to grant admission to her under the sports quota as the standard of physical fitness set for indoor games was the university's policy matter.
The 17-year-old had moved the court after she was denied admission for failing in the fitness test. The test required her to complete 1-km run in six minutes and a 1.5-metre standing broad jump.
Though Karnani failed to make it to the university, her petition has not gone waste. It has rather benefitted students, who have made a mark in indoor games, seek admission in DU from the next academic session.
The court, expressing surprise at the kind of fitness tests that even players of indoor games are subjected to, has asked the university to "reformulate its fitness standards for such sports from the next academic year".
"This criterion (fitness test) is apt and justified for outdoor and also indoor games, where physical involvement is key such as in sports such as badminton and table tennis. It may not be entirely rational to have this criterion for games like chess," said a bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri.
"But setting fitness standards is not the court's function. Unless there is a re-examination of the issue and fresh standards are not laid down for indoor sports like chess, it is difficult to give any relief to the petitioner," said the bench.
Physical fitness test has been introduced in Delhi University for chess players from this academic session.
Seeking amendment in the university guidelines, the petitioner's lawyer, Rajat Aneja, said it would be impossible for chess geniuses like Karnani seek admission in DU, if such impractical rules were not revised.